About Me

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I have served the City of Isanti as Mayor since 2007. We have accomplished great things together and I look forward to building on our success. United, we move forward to a better future. You may contact me at 763-442-8749 or e-mail me at george@georgewimmer.com. My website is www.georgewimmer.com

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Police Union Arbitration

The Police Union won their main 2 points in binding arbitration - retaining the high cost high benefit Cadillac health care plan and only a 1 year contract. The health care aspects bust the budget and the 1 year term means we have to start negotiating immediately for 2011 in which the Union will be asking for even more from our overburdened taxpayers.

To be clear the Council will have to address these issues and cut the Police budget elsewhere including the possibility of eliminating a police officer position to ensure we can afford these escalating cost. All of our other City employees - union and non-union - have all accepted reality and are paying a bit more for their health care coverage and two year freeze on pay increases. Only the Police Union has decided not to accept the new reality and under stand that our Citizens and Taxpayers can no longer afford escalating government cost.

I am greatly sadden that the Police Union may cause us to eliminate officers. If this trend continues then a fully functioning independent police department may not be feasible. Their position was to raise taxes to cover their demands - with record underemployment, declining property values and decreasing wages and benefits for those that do have jobs - this was completely unacceptable. The only tax the City can raise is property taxes which are terribly regressive and hurt our seniors, who for 2 years have no cost of living increase, and the poor the most.

Lets be clear the budget balancing we will have to do long term is the direct result of an unsustainable position for ever increasing wages and benefits.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

5 New and Expanding Businesses in Isanti

We will be announcing 5 new and expanding businesses in Isanti at the October 5th Council meeting. These are exciting additions that will add 3 dozen new jobs with the majority being $25/hour positions. The projects encompass industrial and commercial growth in the existing industrial park and east 65 commercial expansion. We have been working hard to continue our economic growth in our City and this is more proof positive that our efforts are succeeding.

In the Revolving Loan Committee meeting today we gave conditional approval to our first two businesses that have applied for these funds. This is money that will be paid back to the City and loaned back out again with the accrued interest. It is an exciting time for our City as we bring in good paying jobs and provide more goods and services for our community.

The State of Minnesota Hurting Cities

We have learned a lot about state government the last couple years. As the State has been unable to balance its budget it has stolen money for schools, counties and cities. The billions of dollars that were paid in taxes to the state intended for local government entities has been kept by the state for their priorities and has caused wide spread devastation to schools, counties and cities.

Then the State in a never ending search for money decided to start forcing localities to pay taxes and use fees on such things as the water we use to put out fires.... I guess the State thinks a person's house burning down is a prime time to tax us even more. Many do not know that even though the City drills its own wells and treats our water - all paid for by our Citizens and businesses - the State charges us a fee for the privilege to bring the water from the ground. 

Now the latest in State money grab is in refinancing cost. Isanti is looking at refinancing some of the cost associated with the rapid eastward expansion which has the potential of crippling our sewer and water funds. This was caused by several poor decisions made by previous Councils - I voted against these rapid residential growth schemes at the time but must fix the problems we have inherited. So back to the State's latest negative impact on localities.... we as many other cities are looking to refinance our debt at the historic low rates we are experiencing.... The State has decided to add fees and excessive cost to this refinancing potentially making it to expensive for us to do. 

It would be nice if once in awhile State government worked with us.... at this point I would be happy if they just stopped working against us....

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Vision Walk


Picture with Saints Mascot as we get ready for the Vision Walk. A great event to raise money for a great cause.... to learn more go to www.mnapvi.org

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Excellent Economic News

We are working through half a dozen applicants for our special TIF fund. I am quite excited our economic development continues to add new businesses and jobs to our community. We have recently added 9 more businesses to our City adding to the 30 plus businesses we added in my first four years. As we move along the process in the next few months you will be hearing much more about these exciting developments.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Minnesota Owls Home Opener Puck Drop

I will be dropping the first puck for the Owls Home Opener Saturday at 7:30 at the David Johnson Civic Arena this Saturday. Lets get out and cheer on our hometown Owls....

http://www.minnesotaowls.com

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bike Walk Trail Ground Breaking

We will be doing a ground breaking (September 17th)  for the bike/walk trail that will connect the cities of Isanti and Cambridge with a safe and scenic pedestrian route. I have worked on this project as a volunteer then in my capacity as Mayor for over 7 years. This has been a long haul but will be an excellent asset to not only our cities but to the county as a whole. I can not wait to bike this trail next year with with my family.

Interesting Approach to LGA by Minneapolis and St. Paul

The story discusses Minneapolis and St. Paul's approach to LGA - they state and budget for the full amount even when everyone knows no city will get anywhere near the full amount. Responsibly budgets such as ours in Isanti has to reflect the ever dwindling amount of state dollars we are suppose to get. We have to pay our taxes to the state but when the state over spends we at the city level are forgotten. The LGA flip I designed and implemented with Council approval has given the City financial stability in these terrible economic times.

http://www.startribune.com/politics/local/102741954.html?elr=KArks:DCiUnP::DE8c7PiUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aULPQL7PQLanchO7DiUr

Minnesota Owls Home Opener

Join the




Minnesota Owls




for their Home Opener









on Saturday, September 18,1010




and enjoy a Tailgating Party




FREE of charge in the rink




parking lot before the game!









Free Hot Dogs, Chips and Pop as well as drawings for




Owls Merchandise and get




your player autographs too!









Don't miss the home opener




of some of the best hockey




in Minnesota!






http://www.minnesotaowls.com/

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Agenda for the Future

Economic Growth

Strong budget oversight
Eliminate excess spending
Growing of Isanti’s business districts
Job growth
Diversified tax base (balancing tax burden between commercial and residential)
Completion of business ring (encompassing Main St. and County Road 5)
Industry development emphasizing high tech and green values


Continual Improvement of City Government

Integrity, ethics and honesty at City Hall
Transparency and fairness in all actions
Responsive government
Improved communication with citizens and taxpayers
Protecting 


Isanti Initiatives

 Improved environmental practices
Enhancement of regional transportation planning
Foreclosed property programs
Safe routes for children
Emphasis on regional partnerships to address:
Local business opportunities (Isanti County’s
Economic Development Authority)
Home mortgage resources (regional programs)
Assorted township and county concerns

Fall Isantian Article

With our hometown Minnesota Owls getting ready to drop the first puck of the season we must know that our City Budget is being finalized. I want to first say farewell to Council Member Jeff Kolb. He had to resign due to a change in employment. Mr. Kolb served nearly 4 years and brought a wealth of knowledge to each and every issue we faced. I want to thank Jeff and his family for their service to our City.

Now back to our budget and the plan we are following. First the good news, our plan does not raise taxes for 2011 nor does it cut any services. This was accomplished due to the plan we put in place several years ago to cut cost and operate as efficiently as possible. We have discussed the financial plan many times as a City and we will continue to discuss and tweak this as we go along. The great recession we are in continues to make local government operations extremely difficult. The State’s 6 Billion deficit and our region’s double digit unemployment rate continue to make long term budgeting difficult. The dollars the State has been unwilling or unable to pay us are not coming back and the delinquent taxes and assessments are still hanging on us like an Albatross. We have planned for this and continue to weather this economic storm.

We do need to however talk as a community and determine just what type of City we want to be in the future. What level of services do we wish to provide and at what cost. We plan to start community meetings at the beginning of 2011 to make sure we have heard every idea on how we can efficiently operate and provide the services we all need.

We have been having great success in Marketing Isanti and developing the next round of new businesses and expanding our current companies. The Special TIF we created this year has sparked a number of exciting projects that will help us continue to grow our tax base and help provide the funding for the services we need. We are working through roughly a dozen potential exciting new businesses and expansions of current companies.

As our summer winds down and the many great outdoor activities like BMX, Soccer and Redbirds Baseball come to the end of another great season our winter sports start to kickoff. The Farmers Market continues to grow in size and excitement. This tremendous asset to our community continues to bring people to our revitalized downtown. I am so proud of the hard work the Committee has done to make Isanti a better place.

Railroad Avenue will be completed soon marking a Milestone of City progress. The last gravel road in our community will be paved. The last four years we have accomplished the paving of our last couple gravel roads, the revitalization of Downtown, over 30 new businesses, award winning projects such as Ever Cat Fuels, Isanti Retail Meats, Farmers Market and the Water Treatment Facility which will for the first time ever protect us from the harmful radium in our water supply. There are so many more great events and projects we have in our City but as always my space is limited.

Any questions, suggestions or concerns please contact me at George@georgewimmer.com or you can reach me anytime on my cell phone @ 763-442-8749. We have an exciting year ahead of us.

Mankato City Council voted for their Drunk Driving Mayor to Resign

http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/dpp/news/minnesota/mankato-city-council-vote-mayor-resignation-sept-13-2010

Mayoral Record


FINANCIAL REFORM AND GROWTH

Consecutive budgets that cut taxes and spending

I created a Finance Committee to work on fiscal issues

Long-term financial plan


Tax abatement and revolving loan fund - developed to spur economic growth

Dozens of new and relocated businesses in Isanti

Main Street business development

Local jobs - increased by 30% since being elected Mayor

Received statewide Business Recruitment Award for EverCat biodiesel plant (awarded by Minnesota’s Economic Development Association)


RESPONSIBLE CITY GOVERNMENT

Formal City Rules and Procedures - proposed and passed, first time in City history

Foreclosure Management Program- named best in State

Pavement of all remaining gravel Isanti roads completed by end of

2010 - including soccer field area of Third Avenue, and Railroad Ave
.
Development Impact List - created and provided to City Council to understand costs and benefits of development

Neighborhood preservation - protected from proposed City Projects

Isantian newsletter and new City website - developed to improve communication

Mayor’s Great Yard Award and Mayor’s Employer Appreciation Award -
created to recognize individuals and encourage a quality environment

CITIZEN SAFETY

Water treatment plant completed to remove cancer-causing radium from our drinking water

Railroad crossing arms installed at Isanti Parkway and South Passage

Theft, robbery and burglary down in 2009

Some Isanti Restaurants

Subway Sandwiches & Salads120 County Road 5 NE # 1, Isanti, MN 55040
Phone: (763) 444-8400

Rendezvous Coffee House
310 Dahlin Ave, Isanti, MN  55040
Phone:  (763) 444-3999

Spectacular Events Banquet Center
1001 County Road 5 NE, Isanti, MN 55040
Phone: (763) 444-9840


D J's Grill House
1001 County Road 5 NE, Isanti, MN 55040
Phone: (763) 444-985


Wintergreens Golf Grill Dining
306 Credit Union Dr, Isanti, MN 55040
Phone: (763) 444-8422
Creamery Crossing
104 Main St E, Isanti, MN 55040
Phone: (763) 444-8916


VFW
410 Railroad Avenue, Isanti, MN 55040
Phone: (763) 444-9787


Junction Bowl
123 Cajima Street NE Isanti, MN 55040
Phone: (763) 444.9100 

http://www.junctionbowl.com/


Jimmy's Pizza
401 East Dual Blvd, Dual Square Mall, Isanti, MN 55040
Phone:  444.7194

Saturday, September 11, 2010

“Re-election Announcement”

The City of Isanti is shining as a beacon of success over today’s seas of trouble:   Our Nation is faced with the worst economy since the Great Depression.  Our State is gripped by a looming $6 billion deficit.  And our County suffers under a double-digit unemployment rate and massive home foreclosures.


The City of Isanti has led statewide in innovative economic development, downtown revitalization, foreclosure management, and groundbreaking fiscal policy.  As our country and state are suffering under staggering deficits, the City of Isanti has the largest fund balances in its history.  We have faced the same issues as all communities, but we planned well and worked hard.

Our success includes:

·         Budgets that consistently cut taxes and spending
·         Development of a long-term financial plan
·         Dozens of new and relocated businesses
·         Main Street business development
·         Local job growth of 30%
·         New water treatment plant
·         Foreclosure management program, named best in state
·         Business Recruitment Award from Minnesota Economic Development Association
·         Transparency of City government
·         Improved City credit rating to A+
·         Administrative costs 33% lower than our statewide peer group of cities
·         Per capita debt cut 57%

We will build upon our economic success by developing our commercial districts (along County Road 5 and Highway 65), expanding our industrial park capacity, and diversifying our tax base. Maintaining strong fiscal discipline will enable us to weather the tough economic storms we shall endure over the next few years, while we continue to place citizen safety at the forefront of our actions. 

I humbly ask for your support again as Mayor of the great City of Isanti.

Foreclosure Information

Partners in East Central MN:

The MN Home Ownership Center (MNHOC) has released their 2010 Semi-Annual Foreclosures in Minnesota report. They found that all 5 counties of Region 7E are in the top ten in foreclosures as a percentage of housing stock for the first two quarters of 2010.

The breakdown is as follows: #2: Isanti – 1.27%, #3: Chisago – 1.25%, #5: Kanabec – 1.17%, #7: Mille Lacs – 1.12% and #9: Pine – 1.06%.

This report can be found online at: http://www.hocmn.org/en/reports-fp.cfm

We continue to promote foreclosure prevention counseling through the MNHOC. Below are preforeclosure numbers from our region (usually initiated after several months of a mortgage not being paid) for the month of July, 2010, and the corresponding number of these who seek counseling from MNHOC / LSS. All in preforeclosures are sent info on this free counseling service from the MNHOC/LSS.

County            # of pre-foreclosures (7/2010)             LSS Preforeclosure Counseling Clients
Pine                             45                                                                    12
Isanti                           84                                                                    13
Chisago                       84                                                                    15
Kanabec                      27                                                                    6
Mille Lacs                   64                                                                    6

As the numbers show, a low percentage of preforeclosure owners are seeking counseling / assistance from MN HOC/LSS even though they receive info on this. MN HOC has told us that it is common for people in foreclosure to have other delinquent bills (car payment, utilities, credit card, etc) and often don’t open their mail fearing more bad news. Any help towards spreading the info about foreclosure counseling is appreciated. If you are in need of more foreclosure prevention literature please contact Greg Owens at gowens@cpride.com or myself at Jordan.zeller@ecrd.org

Obey the Law and Property Rights

We can add the grocery store to the growing list of businesses and properties that my opponent is placing signs on without permission. The owner took it down..... this is just not right

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Isanti only City in the County with no tax Increase

The City of Isanti is the only city in our County with a 0% tax increase. While others are raising taxes we are able to protect our taxpayers because of our fiscal planning.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

City Budget News

We passed a City Budget with a 3% cut in spending and a ZERO increase in the property tax levy..... Another great victory for my budget plan. We have been able to make the tough decisions to cut cost so we can save our taxpayers hard earned money.

I am a budget and planning guy and if we do not keep a tight hold of our expenses then cost and taxes will run wild as they had previous to becoming Mayor. Some of the decisions we have had to make are not popular but we must protect our resources as this Great Recession continues to hurt our City's families.

I would rather make sure our City is prepared for the future and the difficulties we face together than trying to make grandiose promises in a vain hope to win a single election - the future of Isanti is worth a great deal more to me.

My Opponents Arrest Record

I was quite shocked to learn of my opponent’s extensive arrest record for which he appears to be on probation till 2012. The arrest covers such things as Criminal Damage to Property, DWIs, and so on . . . .   This was all found on the site http://www.mncourts.gov/default.aspx?page=1927 . This information was forwarded to me by concerned citizens who were worried that a person with this record would ever run for public office.

When a person runs for public office they need to know that their life becomes public and that their judgment is one reason people may or may not vote for them. We have serious issues to solve and cannot be in fear that our tremendous City progress would be derailed by bad behavior—past, present, or future—on the part of a potential City leader.

We have worked hard to grow our City and improve our reputation as a community so that we can continue to attract good businesses and promote residential growth. Scandal only hurts these efforts and casts a negative light on us all, branding Isanti in a way that would be a detriment to our future.

It was a struggle over the past few weeks as to whether or not to share this public information. I would have hoped my opponent would have been honest with our City and detailed the reasons why even with this record he was still fit to serve - but unfortunately this has not happened. We have had tough campaigns in the past but this is beyond that. This rises to the level of doing real harm to the City's reputation if he is elected. How would one oversee the operations of a police force and liquor store when there is such a record? This is more than one mistake at one point in time. This is a record covering several years, with the most recent conviction occurring in 2009. To be clear these are not arrest and convictions that happened 10 or 20 years ago but in the past few years. These are the sad facts - not rumor are myth but verifiable facts. 

I am aware of several people who have wanted to disclose this information, but I believe it is my responsibility in order to prevent others from becoming the target of any negative backlash. Some will be upset by this post but I believe strongly the public has the right to know if their potential City leader is on probation for committing an act of violence and can be sent back to jail to finish their sentence. 

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Another Community looking to cut a Community Pool

Red Wing is facing the same issues all cities are faced with. They are looking to dramatically cut a number of items including selling city assets and their Aquatic Center. http://www.republican-eagle.com/event/article/id/68759/group/Communities/

This is especially important as my opponent is looking to spend our hard earned resources on things we can not afford like a water park. Communities are reducing library hours, shutting down pools and just trying to provide basic services without raising taxes.

My opponent promises he will make significant changes. What about our record does he not like:

MAYORAL RECORD

FINANCIAL REFORM AND GROWTH

• Consecutive budgets that cut taxes and spending

• I created a Finance Committee to work on fiscal issues
• Long-term financial plan
• Tax abatement and revolving loan fund - developed to spur economic
growth
• Dozens of new and relocated businesses in Isanti
• Main Street business development
• Local jobs - increased by 30% since being elected Mayor
Received statewide Business Recruitment Award for EverCat biodiesel
plant (awarded by Minnesota’s Economic Development Association)


RESPONSIBLE CITY GOVERNMENT

Formal City Rules and Procedures - proposed and passed, first time in
City history
• Foreclosure Management Program- named best in State
• Pavement of all remaining gravel Isanti roads completed by end of
2010 - including soccer field area of Third Avenue, and Railroad Ave.
• Development Impact List - created and provided to City Council to
understand costs and benefits of development
• Neighborhood preservation - protected from proposed City Projects
• Isantian newsletter and new City website - developed to improve
communication
• Mayor’s Great Yard Award and Mayor’s Employer Appreciation Award -
created to recognize individuals and encourage a quality environment

CITIZEN SAFETY

• Water treatment plant completed to remove cancer-causing radium
from our drinking water
• Railroad crossing arms installed at Isanti Parkway and to be installed at
South Passage in 2010 *****are now installed*****
• Theft, robbery and burglary down in 2009

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Debt Relief

We have some good news about our refinancing City Debt..... Over $600,000 in cash flow help over the next 4 years.... More good news to come

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Letter to the Editor Regarding my Opponent

The letter states my opponents last arrest was in 2008 and it was in 2009....


http://www.isanti-chisagocountystar.com/detail/62195.html?content_source=&category_id=62&search_filter=&event_mode=&event_ts_from=&list_type=&order_by=&order_sort=&content_class=1&sub_type=stories&town_id=

Cities Prepare for Less

Isanti County News Article on how Isanti and Cambridge are dealing with the tough economic conditions we all face.

Special Election Update

There will be a Special Election for the 2 plus years left on Council Member Kolb's seat. There will also be an appointment to fill the seat until the special election happens. Anyone interested in filling the seat until the special election needs to apply for the position. This will be an appointment for a few months until the special election fills the remainder of the term.

The Other Side of NLX Debate

An interesting position on the light rail destined for Cambridge....

http://www.isanti-chisagocountystar.com/detail/62073.html?content_source=&category_id=62&search_filter=&event_mode=&event_ts_from=&list_type=&order_by=&order_sort=&content_class=1&sub_type=stories&town_id=